Archive for the ‘Glenn Shadix’ Category

>Glenn Shadix memorial service

September 13, 2010

>The change of venue for Glenn Shadix’s memorial service was probably the most fortunate thing that occurred surrounding his death. As we were planning the service there was no way to estimate the number of people that might show up. The sanctuary at Covenant Community Church was precisely the right size, as it was about full, but not overcrowded. Things happen for a reason.

The people from Covenant jumped in to help make our plans coalesce into a service that was unlike most, but that Glenn’s mother said he would have loved. I’m not going to name names out of fear of leaving someone out, but you Covenant people know who you are. The service would not have been the same with anyone else doing the behind the scenes stuff. Again, things happen for a reason.

Here is a review, if you will, for those who were not able to attend. Prior to the service a slide show of photos of Glenn with lots of movie shots displayed on the TV screens in the sanctuary and the lobby. This brought an occasional smile to folks.

A program with this picture of Glenn and a list of the participants and the order of service, and an insert that listed many (but not all) of Glenn’s movies, television shows and plays, was handed out. And cards for people to write their wishes or memories on were available and the messages will be printed on Glenn’s web site at a later date.

The order of service was as follows: Instrumental music; Welcome and instruction (you know, turn off your cell phones and not video or audio or photos during the service); hymn – I’ll Fly Away – Tena Wilson; Scripture reading – 23rd Psalm, and Prayer – Rev. J. R. Finney; music – What a Wonderful World – Ken Talley; Eulogy – Joe Openshaw; music – “Get Happy” – Vanessa Anderson (a Judy Garland favorite of Glenn); Poem – On Death (Kahlil Gibran) – Gigi Talley; Message of Comfort – Rev. J. R. Finney; hymn – Amazing Grace – Tena Wilson; Closing Prayer – Rev. J. R. Finney; music – Banana Boat (Day-O) – Ken, Tena and Vanessa.

Glenn’s ashes were on the altar in a beautiful black walnut (I believe) box that had a little painting on the lid (done by one of Glenn’s close friends), surrounded by two studio photo portraits of Glenn and two lit candles. Beautiful radiating flower arrangements were placed below the altar. Behind Glenn on the back wall was a beautiful dove and rainbow stained glass piece, recently hung by the church. Palm trees flanked the back wall, giving the scene a California look, in my opinion.

Here is the eulogy that I delivered. Well, here it is as it was written, I have no idea how closely I followed the printed words. I needed a teleprompter. If the eulogy is not visible, click on the link and you can read it.

Eulogy for Glenn Shadix

Rev. Finney and I accompanied the family out during final strains of Day-O. Truthfully, it was all I could do to keep from standing up and dancing (in that Beetlejuice style) when Ken and Tena and Vanessa were singing. If I had, would others have followed? We’ll never know.

William Glenn Scott’s (Glenn Shadix) memorial service was meant to be a celebration and a remembrance of his life. It is impossible to do that without grieving, and we knew that going in. All those who took part truly feel that it was the greatest honor to do so. Thank you to the family, and most of all, thank you to Glenn.

Glenn’s family has suggested donations be made to Alabama School of Fine Arts new theater project. I would suggest, and I think Glenn would approve, making a donation to Covenant Community Church as well, because they went beyond the call of duty (with love) to serve this family.

>Glenn Shadix; Rest in Peace, my friend

September 8, 2010

>Glenn arrived at my house in costume earlier this year for a screen test being filmed in Tuscaloosa that I was accompanying him to, and asked me to take a photo.

Glenn Shadix, like all of us, was a product of his environment. Because my novels are about characters from the 1960’s, and because Glenn grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, we had opportunity to talk about his past at length.

It’s no secret that Glenn had a disturbing youth. In his first “Bio-Tale he told the story of growing up gay in a Southern Baptist family, and begins with:

“I spent the 1950’s at Westside Baptist Church in Bessemer, Alabama and I was
one of the obvious sissies in the congregation. I remember skipping through the
hallways of the church at age six wearing an available choir robe and headscarf
pretending I was Loretta Young.”

But his real troubles began at the age of seventeen:

“I knew I was attracted to boys rather than girls from my earliest memory. I
thought I was alone in this predicament and it was my deepest and most well
guarded secret until the fall of 1969 when at seventeen I told my parents the
truth and opened a Pandora’s’ box of drama and exiled myself from my childhood
religion forever.”

You can read the entire story, but in summary, he was forced to undergo “concentrated psychotherapy” which included “electrodes attached to a large car-size battery,” and, well, you can imagine the rest.

When I asked Glenn in May of 2008 to ride in the Alabama Stonewall Democrats truck in the Central Alabama Pride parade the following month, he immediately said yes, but then developed some reservations. He had never “come out”, had never felt the need to. In Hollywood and in New York, it wasn’t necessary and there were no reservations about being who you are, at least among those in the profession (whether one could be “out” to the public and still have a successful career in those days is a different story).

But this was Alabama, his home state. His mother and his siblings live here.

Riding to Birmingham from our homes in Bessemer the day of the parade, he told me that he had never taken part in an event or protest for gay equality, and it meant a lot to him to be doing this. In his tropical shirt and straw hat he met Libertee Belle and Patricia Todd and other high profile gays before adding a rainbow colored lei to his attire and taking his position as bubble machine operator in the truck with friends Jo and Cindy, and off we went.

You can see in that picture that Glenn, always the entertainer, was having a good time. But you can also see what troubled him till the end. On his right foot is a boot. He was recovering from one of many surgeries to repair, or to provide relief from, an old injury from a stunt gone awry during a movie filming. Two years later problems with the foot had him confined to a wheelchair and his mobility problems led to the fall that took his life.

The following year I approached Glenn about joining our effort to protest the Ex-Gay conference that was coming up near Birmingham. We had Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out coming to the city to give a lecture prior to our protest, and I asked Glenn to tell his story at the event. This was another first for Glenn, the telling of his story in front of a live audience, and he became emotional during his presentation.

This did not bother anyone in the audience, however, because we all understood the emotional lows that he had been through and the rejection that he had experienced. In fact, most in the audience gained a new respect for the actor for opening up like he did.

Those of us who had become recent friends of Glenn knew him to be a highly intelligent and informed person who would give you the shirt (or the robe) off his back if you needed it. Stephen, Michael, Dean and I, and others, would spend spend hours on the phone or in person talking to Glenn about anything from Sarah Palin and politics to gender non-conformity and religion. One of my last phone calls with Glenn was after I posted this piece on the mosque in New York. He praised me for taking a stand, for “saying what needed to be said,” as he often said about my writings (“and from Bessemer, Alabama,” he would say, in mock disbelief).

Stephen, shown here posing in Glenn’s robe from Beetlejuice, had planned a dinner for this weekend and Glenn and friends were going to help Stephen celebrate his birthday. Glenn had just had a visit from Rufus Wainwright but was looking forward with as much enthusiasm to palling with his B’ham gay circle as he did to entertaining celebrities from New York. That’s just the way he was.

Glenn had plans. His latest film, Finding Gauguin, which I documented here, is set to premiere in September at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood on September 23. He was scheduled to go on a tour next year with the USO to entertain troops in Afghanistan. We had laughed about comparisons to Bob Hope and Ann Margaret for his USO trips. And recently he had been offered at part in a stage production playing Ernest Hemingway during the last year of the writer’s life.

Glenn exposed many of us Alabama simple folk to a world that we know little about. But he approached his celebrity status with such a matter of factness that we felt like we knew Michelle (Phillips, of the Mamas and Papas) or Tim (Burton) or others who he would speak of in everyday conversation.

One of his most recent trips that he went on and on about was a road trip with his friends Diane and James to Baton Rouge to see Joan Baez, one of his (and mine) long time favorite singers. He got to spend some personal time with her and talk, and it meant so much to him, an Alabama boy who had to hide his Joan Baez records as a child from family members who considered her subversive. But he loved Joan and what she stands for and was so happy to have made the trip.

His memorial will be Sunday at 2:00, at Covenant Community Church in Centerpoint, AL.

His family is requesting that memorials be made to the theater department of the Alabama School of fine Arts .

>As close as I will ever get

March 16, 2010

>Monday was an interesting day as I expanded my horizons by accompanying my friend Glenn Shadix to a screen test for a major film that will be shot this summer. This is as close as I will ever get to having anything to do with a movie. Unless somebody picks up one of my books, of course.

My impression of a screen test from this one time experience is that it is not so much a snippet of the movie or a scene, it is about getting the actor’s skills and presentation down in a short clip without the distraction of advanced cinematography or too much attention paid to set and decoration. A few simple props and good videographer is the key.

Glenn chose Michael Gordon and the shoot was done at N9NE Agency in Tuscaloosa.

Here’s Glenn shooting an exterior (indoors).

Here’s a couple of shots from the interior scene.

Glenn and I agree that Michael did a great job with the short video. “I enjoy the chance to give a good audition,” Glenn told me, but he assured me that he is glad to be living here in Alabama and not back in Southern California.

Here’s Michael and Jeremiah (left, who monitored sound and some other technical stuff),

Jeremiah, Glenn and Michael.

This should be a great movie and a lot of people will want to see it, based on what I know. More about that and about the people already associated with the film in a later post.

>This is bewildering

December 4, 2009

>Falling is love is a wonderful experience. For some, it leads to long-term relationships or even marriage (for the privileged majority).

Rick Warren, the purpose driven pastor, did it differently. He married someone he was not in love with and was not attracted to, asking her to marry him on their second date, because “he said he heard God clearly tell him that this is who he will marry.” His wife did not love him either, but she agreed because “she recalled hearing God say, “I’ll bring the feelings.”

This story, via JoeMyGod and originally at Christian Post, is more than a little strange.

“Through interviews with Sheler, Rick and Kay Warren disclosed that they were not attracted to each other nor had feelings for each other when they agreed to be married. Instead, they believed that God had spoken to each of them saying this is the person they should marry.”

I’ll let you come to your own conclusions, but can’t offer too much respect for someone whose marriage began more a like Britney Spears relationship than a love story. Especially when he, as Joe said, has “no problem at all interfering with the relationships of other people who are madly in love with the person they want to marry.”

On a completely different subject I just have to share this picture of Glenn Shadix and Johnny Depp. Glenn was attending an event honoring Tim Burton at New York’s Museum of Modern Art last month. Read about it at Glenn’s blog. Johnny Depp! People magazine’s sexiest man of the year!